Most of the west’s 20th century epidemiological transition occurred through reductions in infectious disease burden and largely preceded the development of effective clinical treatments for these conditions. Reigning explanations account for the historical conquest of premature death as due to living standards and social conditions and hence orthogonal to the work of the health sector. The author will present emerging evidence that indicates the important role that local health departments had and still have in the ongoing epidemiological transitions in the United States as well as low-income countries.


David Bishai is an economist and physician. His work has focused on economic demography at both macro and micro level. He teaches courses on health economics and macroeconomic development on both undergraduate and graduate campuses. His current research is on the essential public health functions and their potential impact on human health and health systems at the district level.

Dr. Bishai received his PhD in Health Care Systems from the Wharton School of Business in 1996. In 1987, he received his MD from the University of California at San Diego and his MPH from UCLA. His residency training in internal medicine and pediatrics was completed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and he maintains dual board certification and an active medical practice. He is a member of the Economic Research Forum of the Middle East, the American Economics Association, the International Health Economics Association, and the American Public Health Association.